Tinker, Tailor, Soldier... Superb

19th September 2011
A stunning reception at the Venice Film Festival, excellent ratings from 100% of top critics on the Rotten Tomatoes review aggregate site, and – unsurprisingly – the top spot at the box office the minute it opened in the UK.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, a cerebral spy drama set in the drabness of 1970s London, perfectly captures the uncertainty and Cold War-weariness of its times.

The film’s success is down to all involved, from Peter Straughan and Bridget O’Connor’s taut reworking of John Le Carré’s novel, through Alberto Iglesias’s  ‘creepy, stealthy score’ (as Variety put it) to the meticulous direction of Tomas Alfredson, who delivers an object lesson in how to create tension without flashy special effects or over-the top music.

And it helps to have a cast drawn from Britain’s finest – Gary Oldman as the hero, George Smiley, along with Colin Firth, Tom Hardy John Hurt and Benedict Cumberbatch – plus Britain’s finest working on score recording and post production.

The score was recorded at Air Studios’s Lyndhurst Hall, with Chris Barrett and Fiona Cruickshank as assistant engineers. As well as being one of the movie world’s favourite recording spaces, the control room has the film scoring world’s number one console – the British-built Neve 88R with SP2 Scoring Panel. Similarly the post-production mix also went to a British house – De Lane Lea, where Doug Cooper and Howard Bargroff handled the mix on the AMS Neve DFC Gemini.

The result: a film that, in the words of Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian, is ‘skin-crawlingly atmospheric… more gripping and involving than any crash-bang action picture’ – and which is already tipped for Oscar nominations.